West and East Village, Chelsea, Soho, Noho, Little Italy, Chinatown and Lower East Side, Since 1933
Volume 77, Number 23 | November. 07 -13 2007

Tour’s goal: To empower Power

By Lincoln Anderson

Bob Holman of the Bowery Poetry Club and his New York University class, “Art and the Public Sphere,” are inviting New Yorkers to celebrate the work of Jim Power, the resident “Mosaic Man” of the East Village, in a tour.

Free self-guided tours will be held on Sat., Nov. 17, from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., meeting at Tony Rosenthal’s “Alamo” cube in Astor Pl. Students from Holman’s class and Power himself will be positioned at his mosaic lampposts to explain the history and meaning behind each work of art and to solicit donations to fund the completion of Power’s Mosaic Trail. The students will be identifiable by special “Empower Jim Power” mosaic scarves.

The Mosaic Trail, created with tiles, discarded pottery and found objects, encompasses 80 lampposts across the Lower East Side and East and West Villages. The trail has never been officially recognized or even completed, and, in fact, has fallen into disrepair.

“It doesn’t make sense,” said Rosalie Schunter, one of Holman’s students. “Power’s mosaics are such an integral part of our neighborhood, but no one seems to care about maintaining them.” 

Power has been tending to the lampposts for more than 20 years, but with a broken hip and scarce funds, he cannot complete the trail alone.

Holman said his students got the idea to help out Power after watching “Captured,” a new film on Lower East Side documentarian Clayton Patterson in which Power makes a cameo, and then reading about Power’s plight in a recent Villager article. At that point, Power was homeless, but he has since sold his eastvillage.com Web site for $10,000 and rented an apartment in East Williamsburg with a backyard garden for his dog, Jesse Jane.

Reached by cell phone on Monday, Power said he was buying a harness for Jesse Jane and training her as a registered service dog so he can take her on the subway.

His ultimate goal, he said, is to do his mosaics up and down the Allen St. Mall.

“It could be — listen to this — the Great Mall of China,” he said. “We could get students and artists from China working on it.”

For more information on the Nov. 17 Mosaic Trail tour, visit http://www.empowerjimpower.com.

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